Public schools don’t look the same everywhere in Idaho.
While Blaine County families take all-day kindergarten as a given, a state education task force only this week voted to recommend expansion of all-day kindergarten statewide.
While pay for local teachers is higher than in most counties, the task force voted to recommend expansion of a career-ladder salary plan to increase pay elsewhere.
While local accountability for literacy is high due to high levels of public scrutiny, the task force called for greater accountability for literacy statewide.
Gov. Brad Little appointed the legislators, other government officials, business and education leaders on the 26-member task force. After five months and 28 meetings, Republican legislators on the committee either abstained or voted against the recommendations that will now go to the governor.
The state’s $200 million tax cut in 2018 proved that they are not matters of money. The legislators’ last-minute objections reportedly startled other task-force members and don’t bode well for the future.
Well-established research has shown positive benefits of all-day kindergarten. It ensures that economically disadvantaged kids don’t start behind their peers from the first grade on. Kids do better in reading and math than those who attend sessions that are a half day or less.
The Republican legislators debated the undebatable. The idea that that they still oppose kindergarten, good teacher pay or school accountability is inconceivable given the high stakes for kids and the state, which is short of skilled workers.
Good for Blaine County schools and taxpayers for putting such matters to rest long ago. The rest of Idaho should, too.